May 15, 2011

Organization with a Sprinkling of Chaos

Today, I am honored to host our first guest blogger--my organizing colleague, Linda Samuels of Oh, So Organized!. Linda has been a Professional Organizer since 1993 and has recently authored, The Other Side of Organized, a book dedicated to helping readers find a level of order, balance, and organization in their lives. Ever feel like you’re never organized ‘enough?’ Read on…

Organization provides a base to let spontaneity thrive alongside a sprinkling of chaos. Organization is a valuable layer in life, but not an end to itself.  Recently, a friend mailed me a Woman’s Day (1996) article I was featured in from 15 years ago. Our daughters were four and six. One of the photos was taken in front of their closet. Aside from noticing their sweet faces, I also saw the organization of their clothes and toys behind them. It was amazing how that one image instantly brought me back to this other time of stuffed animals, building blocks and Candyland.

It made me reflect about the role organization played in our lives. Our girls grew up with a certain level of order. The idea wasn’t to stifle them with it, but merely to be there as a support. Toys were easily accessible. They could reach them and put them away without any difficulties. Art supplies were readily available. Clothes were easy to reach. The order helped to grease the wheels of the day. Having things placed in homes enabled the girls to be spontaneous or deliberate with their play, their schoolwork or whatever they were doing. They had less stress and so did we.

To accommodate their growing interests or needs, we adjusted the organizational systems.  Tub toy baskets left and make-up organizers appeared.  The dress-up box always existed and still does. After all, you never know when you might need to wear a costume! The layer of organization provided the structure to reduce the stress of life’s details so that we could just fully engage and enjoy ourselves. Less time hunting for things meant more time playing games or painting pictures or dancing around the living room.

Before, I mentioned that the Woman’s Day article made me think about an earlier time. In that same way, my library of photos that cycle as a screensaver on my computer, make me reflect about the moments of our lives. These snapshots are my treasures.  In the pictures, I see a lot of laughing, snuggling, celebrating, picnicking, vacationing, hosting of puppies, walking in the woods and gatherings with friends and family. All of these moments and events involved organizing in some way. Our lives were full and busy. Time was precious and still is. So, when we set aside or found the time for fun and for being together, having a level of organization in place enabled us to just go and do that without the stress of hunting for the picnic cooler or the pans to make the birthday muffins.

There was just enough order so we could enjoy ourselves, be spontaneous, let chaos reign briefly and engage completely in the precious moments. Sometimes when people like to tease me by saying, “Oh, Linda. You’re SO organized,” I just smile and think, “I’m just organized enough.”

My wish for you is that you find a level of order that’s right for you so that you can celebrate all of your wonderful moments with as little stress and as much enjoyment as possible.

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and founder of Oh, So Organized!,  author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing & life balance at Follow her on Twitter @LindaSamuels and Facebook at Oh, So Organized!


Linda Samuels said...

Thanks so much for inviting me to be your first guest blogger, Stacey at Organized Artistry. Your blog is terrific and I'm sure your readers enjoy your content and lovely writing style.

Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer said...

Linda, your post has added a generous 'sprinkling' of new ideas to my blog. Thanks so much for sharing.

Ellen Delap said...

A favorite quote! Oh, Linda. You’re SO organized,” I just smile and think, “I’m just organized enough.” How important for us to all remember this! Thanks for sharing!